Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need information from my crop insurance forms (FSA-578)?

IDALS must provide information on eligible acres to RMA in a form that is recognizable to their process. This means collecting information consistent with their forms will streamline the process and make it easier to process the incentive timely and accurately.

What if my insurance company doesn’t offer this program?

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) has MOUs in place with individual Approved Insurance Providers (AIP) who have opted in to participate in this program. Any eligible applicant that utilizes the services of AIPs that have opted to offer this program will be considered eligible for the IDALS cover crop pilot program.  Applicants that use AIPs that have not elected to participate, will not be eligible for this program.

What if I sign-up but change my mind on what fields I seed to cover crops?

Applicants should be sure of which fields are seeded to cover crops before applying.  If necessary, the application could be submitted after seeding, but before sign-up closes, to prevent a change in fields enrolled. 

Can I utilize this producer premium reduction on acres cost-shared through other state and federal programs?

This program is designed to incentivize additional acres of cover crops beyond those supported by IDALS and/or NRCS.

IDALS will verify applications through the Cover Crop Pilot Program and cross-reference with other state and federal programs to avoid overlapping acres.  However, this program would allow acres in addition to cost-shared acres.  Example, 160 acres enrolled in a state program, but farmer installs 320 acres of cover crops, leaving 160 acres eligible for the Cover Crop – Crop Insurance Demonstration Project.

How will IDALS verify/confirm eligible acres?

IDALS will use a combination of tools to verify acres in cover crops applied for through this pilot program.  The first step will be to review applications for overlap in enrollment of cover crops in other programs. IDALS will then employ a variety of tools at their discretion.  Applicants may need to provide documentation (seed bills, seeding method, timing, etc.) to confirm fields applied for were seeded to cover crops.

Can I graze or harvest forage from my cover crop?

Yes, this program and Crop Insurance programs allow for the managed haying and grazing of cover crops as long as this management does not jeopardize the intended function of the cover crop and that termination guidelines developed by RMA and NRCS are followed.

Can cover crops in this program be harvested for grain?

No, the harvest of grain from cover crops is not the intended use of cover crops and would run contrary to crop insurance termination deadlines and insurable crop determinations.

What if I don’t utilize federally subsidized crop insurance?

This program is only for those with coverage through the RMA crop insurance program and only eligible for those that are assessed a premium for the coverage.  In instances where no premium liability is due or absent enrollment in the RMA crop insurance program, the farmer/landowner would not be eligible for this program. There may be other state or federal programs available for these producers.

What is the limit on amount of acres an individual farmer can apply for?

Contrary to other cover crop programs, this pilot program will not impose caps on eligible acres (absent state/federal program acres) for individual applications. For example, a farmer signs up for 800 acres of cover crops, with no acres in other state/fed programs, they would be deemed eligible for the entire 800 acres. Currently, the only limits imposed would be the $5/acre incentive and the total funding available by IDALS for this pilot program.

How much funding does IDALS have for this program? What happens if sign-ups exceed available funding?

IDALS has established a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with RMA to fund this program of up to 200,000 acres for the fall of 2017.  In the event that supply exceeds demand, IDALS will first explore the option to add additional funding, depending on current appropriations available. If additional funding is not available, IDALS will select applications on a first come, first serve basis in the order when completed applications were received. It is the intention of IDALS to have adequate resources to satisfy the demand for this inaugural year of the program.

Do I sign up for this program through the NRCS or SWCD offices?

No, this program is set up independent from traditional state or federal programs administered through the USDA-NRCS/FSA or SWCD offices.  If you need assistance in applying for this program, please contact or (515) 281-5851.  Local Field Offices may be able to assist in applying for this program, but will be up at the individual field office staff’s discretion.

Do I need to report cover crop acres to FSA?
While IDALS encourages producers to report cover crops to FSA, this is not a requirement for the program at this time.

I have a crop share arrangement where the landowner and I share 50% of the crop insurance costs.  Do we both need to apply for this program?
This program is based on cover crop fields. Splits and shares will be accounted for by the insured share with the crop insurance contract. Producers will receive their premium benefit based on the number of net insured acres (the policyholder’s share applied to the planted acreage). So, as long as the all eligible cover crop fields are accounted for, the premium benefit will be applied as designated through the crop insurance contract.